A Nurse with a Gun

Friday, October 03, 2008


Tsavo was one of the most alive places I've ever experienced. The very land breathes. It's brutal, primitive, elemental. One views their existence underneath a lens in Tsavo. Where once we saw ourselves as significant, in Tsavo, where the thorns reach gargantuan proportions, we come to realize that we are human, and what humans really are.

I've never felt more alive than the nights spent among the grass in Tsavo, knowing that I was on the food chain. Not just prey for men, but for predators that would devour me and gnaw on my scattered bones. My guide wore a pink shower cap to keep the dust from his hair, and he spoke only a small smattering of English. As I sat around the fire with him at night, gazing into the flames but not speaking, I knew that the means to keep myself from being sold as a hostage was the payment waiting for him in Nairobi. That, and my .38 revolver.

As our old battered Land Rover clattered to life in a burst of cantankerous smoke the next morning, my nostrils flared. I saw the grass divide and come back together as those who had been watching us departed. I never knew if they were man or beast.

There are stories that we are disinclined to share. Sometimes they are not stories at all, only wet, visceral pin point splatters in our memory. They are not chonological, and they are hard to give description to. Still, they are points of heightened humanity that makes us who we are.

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Blogger nature223 said...

pisses me off..I SHOULD'VE leapt on the one at my local gunstore..grrrr

6:18 AM  
Blogger Evan said...

What's the story behind this picture? I take it the revolver is from Tsavo?

7:00 AM  
Blogger Don Gwinn said...

There must be a lot of stories in that photo. Very cool.

7:07 AM  
OpenID reflectoscope said...

Is that a 20mm case? It doesn't look out of place with the patina it has, just curious.

7:42 AM  
Blogger Ed Skinner said...

The '38 will be good for snakes and such but, yeah, you should probably have something that'll shoot that larger caliber as well.

10:19 AM  
Blogger Less said...

Everytime I visit the Chicago Field Museum, I get creeped out by the Lions of Tsavo exhibit.

The eyes are so real.

The best is that I had a buddy working there and late at night when leaving you'd just get the heebie jeebies!

11:36 AM  
Blogger Xavier said...

Yes, the 20mm hull and the "half dollar" have significance.

Some of these stories I may take to the grave. They are hard to tell. I cannot remember them properly, and they are too incredible without proper context.

8:23 PM  
Blogger lordjim said...


Writing them down or recording them and sealing them with an "upon my death" notice might be a good idea. I for one enjoy those stories and I'm sure I'm not the only one.


9:45 PM  
Blogger nature223 said...

ed..38's it aint an issue I leapt on that model 19 2-1/2" .357 Magnum Combat Master peice,but now I like all pinned and recessed Smitty's..I blame Xavier..he STARTED IT..um..no I like them anyways!!!

11:46 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi Xav, off topic, but would humbly like to suggest the following for ugly gun showcase...




2:14 AM  
Blogger Mikael said...

I wouldn't wanna be camping out in the african bush with anything less than .44 magnum, and would prefer bigger. Loaded with the meanest stopping ammo I could find. That or an smg, and in both cases, this would be in addition to a high powered rifle... or AK47.

I think the following video amply demonstrates just how tough lions are:

Further note that elephants can attack humans, and the most prolific human killer(other than man) in africa is the hippapotamus(at night, when they're on land grazing, don't be between them and water).

4:21 PM  
Blogger Xavier said...

I agree Mikael. You take what you can get though.

That battered old Land Rover was chased by a bull elephant who left the herd we were observing, circled around through the brush and charged us from behind. We should have known because of his trunk being up sniffing up before he blended back into the bush. I have great shots of it that I may show one day if I can get my scanner to work.

5:10 PM  
Blogger Last Chance Safari Company said...

sweet... i'll buy the book... or better yet, the Scotch, and we'll spend an evening or two stretching and relaxing and visualizing another time in the flames of an evening...thanx for sharing.... in my world, my guns, my tools my trophies and my stories as long as they last and anyone remembers, IO am part of an eternity, when the memory is gone, then so am I.

7:47 AM  

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